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The University of Southampton
Health Sciences

Enhanced Advanced Clinical Practice provision at Southampton

Published: 14 November 2018
Advanced Clinical Practice
Advanced Practice Week takes place during November every year

As the UK holds its second National Advanced Practice Week, the University of Southampton is finalising the adaptation of its Advanced Clinical Practice (ACP) provision to ensure its ACP graduates are ready to take on the growing demands of today’s healthcare service.

Southampton is one of the UK’s largest providers of MSc Advanced Clinical Practice programmes, recruiting more than 500 students since it launched its current MSc programme in 2013. The University is currently reviewing its provision to focus on preparing practitioners for changing ACP roles. The four pathways that the University plans to offer are:

National Advanced Practice Week (from November 11-17) is a formal week of events to promote the excellent work of advanced practitioners.

Programme lead Dr Helen Rushforth said:

“Our revised programmes will prepare practitioners to take on roles in clinical settings that are at the interface of medicine and their own profession. This involves advanced health assessment, diagnostic decision-making and a variety of therapeutic interventions that draw on both their established clinical knowledge and experience, and the integration of new advanced knowledge and skills derived from the course.

“Central to these roles is enabling practitioners to work with a high degree of clinical autonomy, and make independent clinical judgements and decisions in situations of complexity and uncertainty. They also need to adhere to the four pillars of advanced practice - clinical practice, research, leadership and education.

“Integrating these four pillars into the ACP role enables practitioners to deliver excellent care, act as role models, initiate service innovations, lead audits and service evaluations, promote and ensure evidence based care delivery, develop junior colleagues from medicine and other professions, and promote the future health and wellbeing of people in their care.”

Southampton’s new provision is based on the recently published Multi Professional Framework for Advanced Clinical Practice in England Health Education England 2017 that sets out the nationally agreed capabilities and underpinning educational experience that ACP trainees should follow. It builds on the University’s existing success in this field, and their revised programme is due to be revalidated in January 2019.

The MSc Advanced Clinical Practice programme is delivered by an expert team of educators, including a number of clinical academic fellows whose teaching role is combined with their role as an Advanced Clinical Practitioner. This ensures the teaching is contemporary and robustly informed by practice.

The key changes to the new programmes are:

  • Introducing an explicitly named Advanced Allied Health Professional pathway
  • Implementing the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s new standards for nurse prescribing
  • Introducing new provision in non-medical prescribing for paramedics
  • Focusing the programme specifically on the development of current and future Advanced Clinical Practitioners

Southampton ACP academics are also having an impact nationally. Helen is currently engaged with both a national Council of Deans Steering Group, and regional work with Health Education England (Wessex), that are seeking to promote further engagement and debate around the implementation of the Health Education England (2017) Advanced Clinical Practice Framework.

She is also helping to lead a workshop at the Health Education England annual ACP participative conference that forms a core part of Advanced Practice Week, and she and other team members attending this important event are looking forward to bringing back news of latest educational developments in ACP to further inform the development of the programme revalidation.

The University has also been hitting the headlines recently when the first cohort of Advanced Critical Care Practitioners completed its innovative training programme - PG Diploma in Advanced Critical Care Practice. The role allows these practitioners to undertake an advanced role in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of critically ill patients as a key senior member of the medical and wider multidisciplinary team.


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